Monday, June 15, 2009

The Untrainable Dog

Mr. Mop may have an attitude but at least he can understand commands.  He can sit, stay, down, and come.  In fact, he is awesome at recall.  He is motivated by both food and praise.  He learned his commands really quickly - as in maybe ten minutes or so.  He's practically a genius.

And then there is Brooklyn.

Brooklyn the sweet, blinking little Yorkie that looks up at me with his tail wagging.  The one who is afraid of umbrellas and mittens.  The one who is IMPOSSIBLE to train.

Part of me thinks that he is only nine pounds and therefore does he really need to be trained?  I mean really, if I want him to do something I can just make him do it.  Nah, that's irresponsible.  He really should understand at least the basics.  Like sit. 

I have been trying to get him to sit for about six months.  I kid you not.  Nothing works on this dog.  He gets way too excited for food.  One book says the way to get them to sit is to place food in front of their nose and then trace it over their head while saying 'sit'.  This makes them lift their head and their bum usually goes to the floor.  Over time, they connect the action and bob's your uncle!

Brooklyn?  I've tried that one.  He wiggles backwards, or dances around, or, just recently, rolled over and then ran in circles.  I've tried this method.  My cousin tried this method.  Even a random man at the park tried it, but with the food starting on the ground.  It was sort of funny because this man clearly had an ego and thought he would show the stupid blonde how it works.  But Brooklyn licked his nose, grabbed the treat, and ran for dear life.  Way to show 'em Brookie!

Then we tried the collar thing - not the choke but the one similar.  He doesn't even notice the pinch!  He just wags his tail.

I make him sit and then tell him how good he is.  Last week he just tooted.  

So if I can't make him sit, do you think I can get him to come?  Oh god.  It's a disaster.  For a while, I tricked him into thinking I had treats in my pocket.  He wised up to my game.  He'll only come about a foot away from me and then make a run for it.  Usually it isn't so bad.  A couple of chase games and I get him.  

But last night at the park there was a bit of a fiasco.

I put Mop in the car and then went after Brooklyn bribing him with mints as that was all I had (ummm, perhaps I should wise up here and start actually carrying treats?).  No fool here.  He ran in circles in the middle of the road. Then went into a neighboring yard and hid behind a pine tree, where he found a dead mouse. 

Pleased with his mouse, he made a break for the park with me hot on his tail.  At this point, a little old lady (wearing curlers in her hair and no teeth) with her Bernese Mountain dog and a family with two golden retrievers joined in the capture.  They too tried luring him with actual biscuits, but nada.  The dork had a dead mouse.  

At this point, he did actually drop the mouse because I think he thought we were playing.  He started to do this high pitch barking combined with running within inches of our treats, wagging his tail and then running in circles.  

Meanwhile, Mop is going nuts in the car scratching the window to get out and barking.  

I think Brooklyn tired out and lost his guard when he finally came in close for the biscuit.  I managed to get him and thank my fellow dog-catchers with high embarrassment painted on my cheeks.

Now Brooklyn not only thinks we were playing but he got rewarded in the end for being an idiot.

I'm starting to think it is I that is the idiot . . . .

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